Kentucky Jockey Club Picks

Churchill Downs Photo by Jarrod Horak

By Jarrod Horak

The road to Kentucky Derby 2024 continues with the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs on Saturday, November 25, and I have included picks below. The Grade 2 event for 2-year-olds has a $400,000 purse and the eight entrants will be traveling 1 1/16 miles on the main track. It is the 11th race on Nov. 25 and the top five finishers will earn Derby points (10-5-3-2-1). 

Kentucky Jockey Club Picks & Final Time Ratings 

Awesome Road pressed as the favorite and was best by 2 3/4 lengths in his sprint bow at Ellis Park on Aug. 27, and clear runner-up Stronghold was a next-out winner. I made this one my top choice in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity on Oct. 7, and he threw in a clunker at 3-1. Flavien Prat keeps the faith and Brad Cox’s $600k Quality Road colt fits with these if he can run back to his bow. He should be forwardly placed from the inside post. 

Honor Marie went last-to-first in his local sprint bow on Sept. 29, and rallied for the place in the slop second time out. He stretches out after two sprints and will try to get involved from off the pace. 

Real Men Violin fired trifecta shots in all five special weight starts. He returned to dirt and graduated in the local slop at one mile on Oct. 29. Ken McPeek’s Mendelssohn colt drilled a bullet for this on Nov. 18 and can come running for a share. 

Dancing Groom graduated in a flat mile race originally scheduled for turf and run on a fast track at Saratoga second time out, and was a distant 3rd in the Grade 1 Champagne in the slop last time. Antonio Santo’s Vino Rosso colt needs pace help. 

Nomos is an Uncle Mo colt for Todd Pletcher. He easily captured his turf route debut at Monmouth, and stalked and weakened in his last two turf route stakes tries. He switches to dirt for the first time and sports a trio of local workouts for this engagement. 

Stretch Ride stalked the pace and upset the field at 19-1 in his local sprint bow on Sept. 17. He was 9-1 in a dirt route at Keeneland second time out and he stalked and kicked clear to win by more than five lengths. He will have to run faster to win this for Dale Romans but he has done nothing wrong up to this point.  

Risk It wired the field from the inside post as the chalk in his local sprint debut on Aug. 19. I made him my top choice in the Grade 3 Iroquois on Sept. 16, and he stalked the pace and held the place over next-out Street Sense (G3) hero Liberal Arts. He is a logical prominent throughout threat under Tyler Gaffalione. 

One Red Cent rounds out the field. He pressed the pace and earned his diploma in his seventh career start in a local $100k maiden claiming sprint on Nov. 15. He figures to attend the pace from the outside post but this is a tall order for the gelded son of Dominus. 

Kentucky Jockey Club Picks

The Kentucky Jockey Club is the seventh race in my Kentucky Derby 2024 video series. I will cover each points race on the road to the Derby. Check out my Kentucky Jockey Club picks video below.